Thursday, October 24, 2013

Avatar, Book Two

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Avatar, Book Two by S.D. Perry
234 pages
Published May
2001
Read May 14th 2013


Previous book (Deep Space Nine): Avatar, Book One
Next book (Deep Space Nine): Section 31: Abyss

Purchase Avatar, Book Two from Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

Avatar is also available as part of an omnibus, Twist of Faith, containing the first four novels of the DS9 relaunch:

Purchase Twist of Faith from Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk
NOTE: This volume contains Avatar: Book One, Avatar: Book Two, Section 31: AbyssGateways: Demons of Air and Darkness, and the novella "Horn and Ivory" from Gateways: What Lay Beyond

Spoilers ahead for Avatar and the Deep Space Nine relaunch!

From the back cover:
RETURN TO THE EDGE OF THE FINAL FRONTIER. 
As the Federation prepares to launch a counterstrike against the Dominion, Colonel Kira Nerys searches for a way to prevent another galactic holocaust. But when a newly discovered prophecy propels Jake Sisko on an impossible quest and threatens to plunge all of Bajor into chaos, Kira is forced to choose between being true to her faith...and being true to herself. 
Meanwhile, as the combined crews of Deep Space 9 and the Starship Enterprise struggle to stop a terrorist plot to destroy the station and the ship, lives change, new friendships are forged, and the shocking truth behind a grisly murder is revealed. 
THE ASTONISHING RENEWAL OF THE EPIC ADVENTURE.

Notable quote:

"'I'm tired of wondering whether or not I'm being manipulated by people who say they speak for the Prophets. I have my own relationship with Them, and I trust my own judgment. And whatever you think about that, what gives you the right to decide what's bad for me, or what's best for anyone besides yourself?'" 
- Colonel Kira Nerys, on the Vedek Assembly's attempt to censor the prophesies of Ohalu

My thoughts:

For the most part, Avatar, Book Two serves to put the pieces in place for the situation going forward in the Deep Space Nine relaunch. We see the continued raising of tensions following the Jem'Hadar attack on the station in book one. We learn more about the new crew-members, such as Shar (Thirishar Ch'Thane) and Lieutenant Ro. The mysterious Jem'Hadar, Kitana'Klan, who claims to have been sent by Odo, cools his heels in the station's holding area. And Colonel Kira, confronted by a mysterious prophecy whose origins are indeterminate, must make a decision that may put her at odds with her faith.

S.D. Perry's writing is concise and appropriate for the universe of DS9. She captures the characters' voices very well, and the new characters that are introduced are developed quite nicely. I look forward to reading more about them in future books.

The plot points from book one are wrapped up well, but in true Deep Space Nine tradition, the consequences of what happened will continue to influence events in the novels to come. This more than anything is what excites me about the "relaunch" trend in the Trek novels. While a good, self-contained story can be fun, the true joy in storytelling is the ability to craft a tale that has consequences and repercussions on the status quo. A departure from the typical "put the toys back on the shelf when you're done" stories of Trek novels, the DS9 relaunch sets the stage for meaningful, long-term stories that evolve and change the characters. In the conclusion to the Avatar story, we see the set-up for the new status quo of the Deep Space Nine series going forward.

One small complaint I have is that the Avatar duology is split into two books. This volume in particular is only a scant 234 pages, and the type is quite large. Compare the size of the print to a later book in the Deep Space Nine series, Twilight by David R. George III, and you can see that a great deal more information can be put on the page. Why couldn't books one and two of this series have been one novel? I feel like it wouldn't have been too difficult to combine them.

Final thoughts:

The Avatar duology has left me very excited to continue reading the Deep Space Nine relaunch! I read them years ago, but I felt that a re-visit was in order. The DS9 relaunch will always have a special place on my shelf, and it's my pleasure to be able to review them again years later. DS9 was a special series with great writing and terrific characters, and it is so much fun to see it continue in this fashion. Onwards and upwards!

The adventure continues...

Further resources:

TrekBBS discussion and review thread for Avatar, Book Two
Podcast: Literary Treks 13: Shedding the Shackles of the Past - discussion of Avatar, Book Two

Also by S.D. Perry:

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Avatar, Book One of Two (2001)
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Rising Son (2003)
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Unity (2003)
Star Trek: Terok Nor: Night of the Wolves with Britta Dennison (2008)
Star Trek: Terok Nor: Dawn of the Eagles with Britta Dennison(2008)
Star Trek: Inception with Britta Dennison (2010)

My next read:

Next up is the latest new release: from David Mack, The Fall: A Ceremony of Losses. Review coming soon!